Clippers star Blake Griffin says he knows it is time to expand his role with the team. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Clippers have serious title aspirations after re-signing All-NBA point guard Chris Paul to a new long-term deal and getting coach Doc Rivers from the Boston Celtics. The former doormats of the league hope to continue their move to one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
But Paul says the team needs forward Blake Griffin to step up if they want to win a title, saying the team will "definitely go as Blake goes."
Griffin saw it as a challenge and agreed with him.
" [Paul] has a huge role on this team," Griffin said to ESPN.com. "He's been the guy who has closed out a lot of games late for us.
"But in my mind, this is the year I need to step into that role and really help him shoulder that load. I'll be right there with him at the end of games, being the guy that he can always count on."
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Griffin averaged 18 points and 8.3 rebound a game, which was below his career averages of 20.4 points and 10.4 rebounds.
"To be honest, I'm more excited about this upcoming season than I've ever been," Griffin said. "My workouts with [shooting coach] Bob Thate and our coaches have been geared around figuring out how I'm going to be used this season.